This is the thirty-third part of a fiction serial, in 746 words.
Baby Angela Reynolds was a delight to both sets of grandparents. Tony would sit with her on his lap in the driving seat of the Consul and place her tiny hands on the steering wheel. “I hope I’m still around when you are seventeen, so I can teach you to drive and get you your first car”. When she was a year old, Annie left her job so that she could look after Angela and Melanie could go back to teaching.
Scott got promotion to Sergeant, and finally finished the work on the old VW GTI. But he sold it to put the money away toward the deposit on a three-bed house on a new development. Then he sold the other one, and bought a year-old Volvo estate car that had loads of room for all the baby stuff.
When he collected the Volvo, he remembered Tony telling him he would need a family car, and smiled.
At the annual Car Show that October, someone approached Tony and offered him six thousand pounds for the immaculate Consul Cortina. He had never thought about selling it, but that was a lot of money. Nonetheless, he shook his head. “Sorry mate, that’s not enough”.
Christmas that year was a delight. Little Angela was at the age that she could enjoy it, and Annie went overboard with the presents. On Boxing Day, Mel and Scott took the baby to see Scott’s parents, and Annie sat at the dinner table looking worried. “Tony, something’s not right. I didn’t want to say anything yesterday and spoil Christmas, but I don’t think Angela is developing properly. She’s nothing like Melanie was at her age, and her eyes seem funny to me”.
Tony trusted his wife completely, but he hadn’t noticed anything unusual about his granddaughter. “Give her time, love. Not every child develops in the same way, at the same speed, and I’m sure Mel would have said something if she was worried”.
As Angela’s second birthday approached, Annie wanted Tony to clear up the garden so she could have a party outside. Scott came over to help, and Mel sat inside with her mum and Angela as they talked about who to invite and what food to prepare.
Scott was using a strimmer to clear away weeds from the fence, but they both heard the scream above the noise of the machine.
Tony dropped the edging spade he was holding, and started to run up the long path to the house. But Scott overtook him, and was inside before Tony got close to the back door.
Melanie was hysterical, and Annie was white-faced, holding Angela tight to her body as the little girl convulsed uncontrollably. Scott took charge, walking over to the phone he rang for an ambulance, then took his daughter from Annie and placed her on the floor on her side, with cushions from the sofa either side of her head. Tony had no idea what to do, and felt helpless.
It seemed to take forever for the ambulance to arrive, but the two men were very professional, and seemed to know exactly what to do. In no time at all, Angela was in the back of the ambulance, with a still-sobbing Mel, and Scott looking intense.
Tony watched as they started to close the doors, then called out. “We will follow you down, see you in Casualty!”
He had always been a very careful driver, but that day he pushed his Mark 5 to the limit, and did some overtaking moves that would normally have had Annie shouting at him to slow down. But he had no chance of catching the ambulance, which was way ahead, its blue lights flashing, and sirens wailing. At the hospital in Lincoln, they had to stay in the waiting room because Mel and Scott were already in the cubicle with their daughter.
Annie finally snapped, and broke down in tears as Tony held her.
After what seemed like an eternity, Scott came out to talk to them. “They are going to transfer her to the Children’s Hospital in Nottingham for tests. We can go in the ambulance, but you should probably go home, as there’s every chance she will have to stay in”. He handed Annie a key.
“Can you go to our place, get us both a change of clothes just in case, and stuff for Angela too. I will ring you from Nottingham later, and let you know what’s happening”.